1) Pray for a first overall slot win of the lottery and Rasmus Dahlin.
(Wiz note 1: this would force a core player sell off quicker rather than later, because Dahlin’s second deal will not be a RFA bridge but a long term big dollar one, marking the start of the “hard rebuild”).
2) Connected to the first prayer, they are now praying they find a taker on one of their top two defensemen to re-establish CAP flexibility.
3) Pray they win a top two or three pick and pray those two scoring forwards prospects already showing high pace IQ and skill are worth passing for Brady Tkachuk, who along with his representation, would have to give assurances he is by-passing anymore college.
(Wiz note 2: these top forwards, Andrei Svechnikov and Filip Zadina are clearly smart quick super-skilled and not going to need much growth in terms of offensive game and look to help the teams that draft them quickly at even strength and the power play. Let’s give taking Brady Tkachuk early a name: How about the Louis DeBrusk factor?)
4) Connected to the third prayer: If the Hawks were to select Svechnikov or Zadina in the second or third slot after a lottery win, neither is going to prove much by staying in junior, subsequently the Blackhawks are now praying they find a taker on the Anisimov, Saad, or another costly forward deal (he who shall not be named) to secure more scoring for the present with more Cap money. No matter how we all try to justify Artemi planarian’s departure, because we know there wasn’t going to be an excess nine or ten million to resign him, no one can demean the fact he is a GREAT NHL scorer we no longer have. Could a hard rebuild and purge of the established core and the cap room lure him back in free agency? I think not.
5) If the Blackhawks do not win either of the last two lottery slots, they pray that any and all the teams above them DO win all three top slots,
And not any team under them in the pre draft rankings so the Blackhawks don’t move backward 1-4 possible slots;although hopes of Brady fade, a top ten pick this year is still an awfully good place to add a prospect.
6) Pray Montreal wins the lottery, one over all, so the Habs don’t have Brady Tkachuk in consideration at all.
Just as Montreal chose Ryan Poehling, the Hawks’ TRUE #1 target last season (which triggered the hawk trade up and Henri Jokihaju pick), the Habs will scoop Brady before the hawks choose, because as much as the Habs have need at defenseman, they also need the big forward physical presence a Tkachuk brings.
(Wiz note 3: I keep reading about how Brady is “lesser-light when it comes around to comparisons with the polished forwards ranked above him. I can’t overstate how he is a take no prisoner aggressive power player who causes problems where ever he is and plays to win. And there is plenty of upside too. I doubt he sees the minors and starts on the job apprenticing next season because there is little to prove in the college ranks, and NHL play is the only place further adjustment can take place. In my opinion, he is a terrific ingredient that he balances the undersized parts of the Hawk forward line-up.)
7) Look for the Blackhawks to be praying for one of the teams drafting one through six to in a quest for offensive generating defenseman causes a small run on defenders starting at slot # 5, thereby causing slippage of a safe forward, or a guy considered by the hawks scouting staff as perfect drop into their laps.
(Wiz note 4: Some are saying it is a strong second their after Dahlin made up FOUR players, making pick six the start of a drop off to the third tier. That is NOT how I see it, as the smaller “push” defensemen in this draft have been scouted and have seen more video scrutiny than most past year’s prospects, because NHL teams must feel certain these super-fast undersized players CAN hold up in some form in the defensive parts of the game. Their prayers might be answered if an early selecting team loves one of the many smaller dynamic skating attacking offense man. The game has changed, more that we all want to believe. The physical presence part of the defensive position has radically taken a back seat to the need for every team to have more than one skilled and quick footed defender with upside…teams maybe in fact be reaching for a few of these attacking offensemen, leaving an opportunity for quality forward prospects to fall down a few slots.)
8) Pray there are teams ahead of them with divergent scouting lists and a prospect the hawks have ranked higher slips to them at both the early and later first round pick. This draft is filled with prospects and that many scouts felt had higher upside but still hadn’t gotten the parts together to warrant mention in the very first selections, who are very good players, so the Blackhawks pray one drops to them in slots ten, nine, eight, and maybe even in that later Nashville pinch, acquired in the Hartman – Ejdsell trade.
(Wiz note 5: What would be causing slippage and selection of defenseman over these forwards? There would be questions about their over all ability to progress to elite status players…many of these prospects are guys who will be close to guaranteed NHL roster fillers, even if there is less star quality upside. They don’t have foot speed issues or lack 200 foot commitments. This happens with regularity; ask the Kings how happy they were when the guy third on their board, Gabe Vilardi, was still there at #11 when they selected.)
9) The Blackhawks final prayer is that some Stanley Cup contender knocks off the Nashville Predators BEFORE they get to the final four, so the second 1st rounder is one in the 27 or under slots.
(6th and final Wiz note: I was of the opinion that as soon as they knew the chances of a playoff spot were close to diminished, the Hawks’ main goal was to secure replacement picks in each of the early rounds where they had traded theirs. I think the hawks were looking for a 2nd rounder and the chance of a late first rounder plus a chance to see if Victor Ejdsell could help sooner made it seem to Stan Bowman that he had no choice but to make the deal instead of giving Hartman a handsome re-up at a price he would have trouble justifying. And please, don’t tell me how slow Ejdsell is, all I see is the sweeping wrist shot usually reserved to a much smaller player that gets off really quickly.)
Now all of you, START PRAYING TOO.
Because this team is going to have to transform via some upgrade and not just rely on improvement from each and every youngster. There has to be more at the top end working if we don’t want to be praying on lottery balls a year from now.